Chandra is the face of Core Set 2020, and the set does indeed deliver, giving Standard the critical mass of different Chandras and support cards for a flame-imbued Chandra tribal deck to become a possibility.

All of my card choices are explained below:


There are currently four different non-planeswalker-deck Chandras in Standard, Core Set 2020 included; they all have their slots in this deck. The Chandras are all fine cards at face value, and only get better when working in concert. Flavour-wise, it's a little bizarre to have teenage Chandra and adult Chandra on the field simultaneously, but hey: Magic doesn't always have to make sense. Else, how would you explain Emrakul, the Aeons Torn being killed by fifteen bird tokens?

Anyway, let's break down the roles that our Chandras each fill.

Chandra, Acolyte of Flame

This is the least individually powerful Chandra in the deck, but the lack of raw power is made up for with synergy. Her first zero ability is essentially a +1 that grants an extra loyalty to each other red planeswalker we control. This deck plays seventeen 'walkers and they're all red, so we'll often have three or more in play, in which case an innocuous buffer of one loyalty can end up truly mattering. The other zero ability is fairly weak (at least without the help of a different Chandra that I'll talk about right after), being two damage at best and two suicide attackers at worst (though random face damage often does matter with this deck). The -2 on this card is powerful, even though our deck doesn't contain too many instant and sorceries; flashing back a removal spell is quite helpful and in some slower matchups, especially post-board, she lets us cast large Banefire s three turns in a row, which will (hopefully) brute-force the opponent to zero life.

Chandra, Novice Pyromancer

Don't be fooled by the uncommon rarity. While this is basically a bad Chandra, Torch of Defiance , it's still pretty good. The +1 is very powerful in conjunction with Chandra, Acolyte of Flame 's second zero ability, creating a very good source of pressure for both planeswalkers and life totals. It should also be noted that she immediately ticks up to six loyalty, which is essentially a form of innate protection. The -1 allows us to double spell a lot and sometimes makes this Chandra cost a virtual two mana. The -2 is just Shock , which may seem unimpressive but actually kills a lot of creatures that see play. And again, every bit of incidental damage to the face offers reach, and reach does matter.

Chandra, Awakened Inferno

Six mana is a lot, but we have ways to ramp (such as Chandra, Novice Pyromancer ) and big mama Chandra is very powerful in almost any (Standard) matchup. Against control, she's uncounterable ( Teferi, Time Raveler basically banned most counterspells from Standard, but there's always that one rogue Dovin's Veto running around) and offers an undisruptable clock, while against aggressive decks, she can wrath the board. There's no ultimate, but the +2 ability already creates the inevitability that most ultimates offer anyway.

Chandra, Fire Artisan

Chandra, Fire Artisan is a simple card advantage engine and offers the least synergy out of all our Chandras. She's essentially a four-mana, painless Phyrexian Arena that can ultimate if left unchecked after multiple turns, which is good, but since she doesn't directly impact the board, big boards can quickly attack her down or even ignore her. In the event that she gets killed by creatures, she does offer at least five free damage, which is far from irrelevant.

Chandra's Embercat

Chandras are cool, but there's got to be a legitimate reason to play them all in one deck if Chandra tribal wants a chance at glory. Thankfully, we have plenty of such reasons. There are in fact three non-planeswalker-deck cards that invoke Chandra's name in their rules text, and all three range from perfectly playable to potentially broken.

Chandra's Regulator

This card is absolutely insane and one of the biggest payoffs for jamming a bunch of chandras in your deck. As long as we have any reasonable draw that contains a regulator plus just one or two Chandras, it becomes very difficult for us to lose. Think on it: even some of the weaker loyalty abilities on our Chandras become very good when copied for the low cost of one mana. Chandra, Acolyte of Flame 's first zero gives every 'walker on our side _two_ loyalty, making it very hard for creatures to attack them down. Her other zero ability now makes four Elementals, and when combined with Chandra, Novice Pyromancer 's +1, results in four 5/1s for two mana. On an empty board, that's a hit for 20 damage! Speaking of Chandra, Novice Pyromancer , with a regulator around, her -1 becomes a hypercharged Rite of Flame and her -2 becomes a Flame Lash that can be split between two targets. Otherwise, Chandra, Awakened Inferno 's +2 is quite strong when copied, resulting in an inevitable four-turn clock (2+4+6+8) damage on their upkeep, and her -X can be used to kill two things (or kill one thing using only half the loyalty normally needed). Simply put, since loyalty abilities don't cost any mana and aren't really designed with copying in mind, a card that allows us to copy them can quickly break the game. It also should be remembered that the regulator has a second ability which lets us rummage away bad cards or excess lands for one mana. While it really is just the icing on the cake, smoothening out our hand can be pretty relevant, especially if the game goes long.

Chandra's Embercat

A two-drop mana dork may seem boringly unimpressive, but it's not something that red usually has access to, and the ability to cast Chandras a turn (or even two turns!) ahead of schedule is too good a thing for us to pass up. Casting four-mana Chandras on turn three is always efficient, especially if it's Chandra, Novice Pyromancer , which can immediately -2 to kill a creature, then -1 on the next turn, giving seven mana to slam Chandra, Awakened Inferno on turn four. It's more than a little awkward that the cat mana can only be spent on Chandras and Elementals (no Sarkhan the Masterless , no spells), but ramp is so good (and so rare) for a deck like ours that even awkward ramp is welcome.

Chandra's Triumph

This is a good card that becomes an amazing card in our deck. A "fail case" would be Lightning Strike without the ability to go face, which is fine. The success case, which is quite easy to achieve with thirteen Chandras in our deck, would be an instant-speed Roast that hits fliers and planeswalkers, or a sometimes more expensive Magmatic Sinkhole , which is a card that sees consistent Modern play as possibly the best red removal spell for any deck that can afford its tax on the graveyard. Five damage for two mana is just a super-efficient rate, and the only straightforward way to gain access to it in Standard right now is by playing a bunch of Chandras, which we happen to be doing.

Sarkhan the Masterless

Sarkhan isn't a Chandra-specific payoff but really just a payoff for having a lot of planeswalkers in our deck. Here, he fits the same role he did in the Jeskai Walkers deck that was very popular a while ago before the Nissa Ramp decks with Mass Manipulation appeared, acting as a pure threat that can win the game very quickly. Imagine a simple curve of Chandra, Acolyte of Flame into Chandra, Novice Pyromancer into Sarkhan. That's a lot of power ready to attack on turn five!

Repeated Reverberation

This sorcery looks like a fun casual card at first, but it has overperformed for me. It's very good at giving us a burst of value (or tempo) to turn the table from behind, pull ahead with a solid advantage, or straight up slam the doors shut if we're already winning. Most of the time, it's loyalty abilities that get copied by this since they're free (especially Sarkhan's -3 because making three dragons is insane), but burning down an opposing board of creatures and planeswalkers with Chandra's Triumph is obviously fine, too. When you've got reverberations to repeat, this is very good, but it does need setup to function properly, so it's only a two-of since we don't want too many copies stranded in hand with no planeswalker on the battlefield.

Blast Zone

While this is a Chandra-themed deck, we still need to play a few cards that don't have anything to do with her because they're good cards that make the deck better than it would be without them. After all, no matter at the kitchen table or on the big stage, decks are built with winning in mind.


Good ol' always-legal Shock , still the best one-mana spell in Standard. It's just a cheap and efficient removal spell for early creatures that, in a pinch, can go upstairs. (I think we all know what "deal 2 damage" means.)


This always feels like a nice card to have access to as a brute-force way to close out the game that can't be stopped by counterspells if everything else fails. The fact that it can be used as a mediocre removal spell does, of course, help up its usefulness since we're not an aggro deck don't really want a card that does nothing outside of dealing face damage ( Leyline of Combustion , for example).

Tormenting Voice

In modern, it is sometimes observed that fair midrange strategies play a copy or two of Faithless Looting as a small tool to make the deck run smoother and prevent mana screw/flood. Tormenting Voice is in our deck for the same purpose, while being less mana efficient but at least self-replacing.

Blast Zone

Mobilized District

We could certainly just play 25 Mountains and be totally fine, but I do believe these few utility lands are beneficial enough to be worth the risk of color-screw (which is really embarrassing in a mono-colored deck if it ever happens). Field of Ruin and Interplanar Beacon could also be tested but I think their abilities hold lesser relevance in the current Standard. Blast Zone is great at dealing with aggressive creature decks (especially mono-white) that could otherwise create problems for our slow, value-y planeswalker game plan. Mobilized District is useful mostly since our deck contains seventeen planeswalkers, meaning it's really easy to get a discount on its activation cost. And considering that a random 3/3 does many relevant things such as pressuring planeswalkers and blocking, I'm willing to pay the opportunity cost of a colorless land.

Cavalier of Flame

To sideboarding!

Our board isn't super-spicy, so let's just break it down card by card, the old fashioned way.


This card is in the sideboard for the same reason it is in the main deck: to offer an inevitable win condition when all else fails. We'd gladly have three copies in our deck when playing a slow, durdly matchup where Banefire is at its best, though it's just inefficient removal against any aggressive deck, especially ones that go wide.

Cavalier of Flame

I was somewhat speculatively including a singleton cavalier, my thought process being to use it as a large, versatile mid-game threat that generates value right away to both trump on creature decks and surprise reactive opponents that boarded their creature removal out. The latter does get significantly weaker with open decklists, but I still believed this card is solid. Also, notice that it's an Elemental, so Chandra's Embercat can be used to ramp into it. After testing some games I am positive that this is a very strong card. It doesn't get bricked by Cavalier of Thorns like most other creatures in Standard, and it's been quite impressive at holding down the fort against everything other than Knight of the Ebon Legion , so I raised the number to two.

Dire Fleet Daredevil

Versus any deck that plays a fair number of instants and sorceries, this is basically just inconsistent Snapcaster Mage . But I dare say that an inconsistent Snapcaster Mage still is a consistently good card. Against Mono-Red, this can flash back a burn spell and trade with a creature, resulting in a two-for-one. Against Esper, it can flash back a Dovin's Veto for a potential surprise blowout, or just a Thought Erasure for value (remember to do it during the main phase though). Otherwise, the card is also to be brought in against Izzet Phoenix and Grixis lists.

Flame Sweep

Creature aggro can be problematic for us, especially if the creatures can grow large over time (as is the case with white-based aggro right now). Pyroclasm effects shore up this weakness efficiently, with the instant speed on Flame Sweep creating some nice blowout potential to make up for the one extra mana it costs. Obviously, bring this in against Mono-Red and Mono-White.


This hits almost all the heavily-played planeswalkers in standard other than Nissa, Who Shakes the World , literally all the creatures in Esper and Mono-white, and Crackling Drake , Kefnet, and Saheeli in Izzet Phoenix. In these three matchups, it's essentially a powered-up Chandra's Triumph , which is a lot to say. There are also some more fringe decks that are easy to Fry , such as Mono-Blue and Boros Feather.

Lava Coil

Gruul is a bad matchup because their big monsters can easily stomp down our planeswalkers down and then casually proceed to kill us. With only four clean removal spells in our main deck ( Shock + Chandra, Novice Pyromancer doesn't cut it as "clean", neither does Banefire for five mana), we never have enough to answer all their threats in game one. To shore this weakness up, we're boarding a full playset of the best red card against their deck (it even gets rid of Rekindling Phoenix !). The card is also superb against Mono-Red, Mono-White, and Izzet Phoenix and should be boarded in against any deck that is heavy with creatures but not planeswalkers, which are generally the more difficult matchups for us.

Legion Warboss

People will often board out (at least most of) their creature removal against us, and then the Warboss completely owns them. In the worst case, it spreads their removal thin so they can't answer our Sarkhan-made dragon planeswalkers. Against Simic Nexus (which is slowly returning to the meta) in specific, it's almost essential in helping us race them. It's also correct to run this in versus the different flavours of Esper and Grixis running around.


"It is the nature of fire to grow."

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23% Casual

77% Competitive

Date added 3 months
Last updated 3 weeks

This deck is Standard legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 3.17
Tokens 1/1 Elemental, 6/6 Dragon, Chandra
Folders Standard, decks I like, Others, mtgArena Standard
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